Maryland creates ER opioid prescribing guidelines

The Maryland Hospital Association, working with the Maryland Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, recently developed opioid prescribing guidelines to be used in emergency departments in the state. In 2014, about 900 Maryland residents died from opioid misuse, including 578 from heroin alone, The Baltimore Sun reports. That's up 22 percent from the previous year and an increase of 76 percent since 2010, according to the article. The guidelines provide physicians with flexibility when prescribing the pain killers when medically necessary but encourage practices that can reduce the risk of opioid addition. Nationwide, prescription opioid overdoses led to more than 100,000 emergency department visits in 2010 and cost hospitals more than $2 billion. Article